THE ORIGINS OF ATTACHMENT THEORY: JOHN BOWLBY AND MARY AINSWORTH
作者: INGE BRETHERTON / 13649次阅读 时间: 2013年11月08日
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NEW DIRECTIONS

Currently, attachment theory and research are moving forward along several major fronts, inspired by the second and third volumes of Bowlby’s attachment trilogy, by methodological advances, and by the infusion into attachment theory of complementary theoretical perspectives.

Attachment and Representation

As a result of Mary Main’s Berkeley study (Main, Kaplan, & Cassidy, 1985) and, I think, thepublication of the Society for Research in Child Development Monograph, Growing Points of Attachment Theory and Research (Bretherton & Waters, 1985), we are now beginning to empirically explore the psychological, internal, or representational aspects of attachment, including the intergenerational transmission of attachment patterns that had been at the center of Bowlby’s interests since his beginnings in psychiatry but that are most clearly elaborated in volumes 2 and 3 of the attachment trilogy (see Bretherton, 1987, 1990, 1991).

Interestingly, an additional source of inspiration for the study of internal working models came from attempts to translate Ainsworth’s infant- mother attachment patterns into corresponding adult patterns. in the Adult Attachment Interview (George, Kaplan, & Main, 1984; Main & Goldwyn, in press), parents were asked open-ended questions about their attachment relations in childhood and about the influence of these early relations on their own development. Three distinct patterns of responding were identified: Autonomous-secure parents gave a clear and coherent account of early attachments (whether these had been satisfying or not); preoccupied parents spoke of many conflicted childhood memories about attachment but did not draw them together into an organized, consistent picture; and, finally, dismissing parents were characterized by an inability to remember much about attachment relations in childhood. In some of the dismissing interviews, parents’ parents were idealized on a general level, hut influences of early attachment experiences on later development were denied. Specific memories, when they did occur, suggested episodes of rejection.

Not only did the Adult Attachment Interview classifications correspond to Ainsworth’s secure, ambivalent, and avoidant infant patterns at a conceptual level, but adult patterns were also empirically correlated with infant patterns (e.g., a dismissing parent tended to have an avoidant infant; Main & Goldwyn, in press). These findings have since been validated for prenatally administered interviews by Fonagy, Steele, and Steele (1991) and by Ward et al. (1990). Consonant findings were also obtained in a study of young adults in which Adult Attachment Interview classifications were correlated with peer reports (Kobak & Sceery, 1988).

In addition, representational measures of attachment have been devised for use with children. A pictorial separation anxiety test for adolescents, developed by Hansburg (1972), wasadapted for younger children by Klagsbrun and Bowlby (1976) and more recently revised and validated against observed attachment patterns by Kaplan (1984) and Slough and Greenberg (1991) Likewise, attachment-based doll story completion tasks for preschoolers were validated against behavioral measures by Bretherton, Ridgeway, and Cassidy (1990) and Cassidy (1988). In these tests, emotionally open responding tended to be associated with secure attachment classifications or related behaviors.

Finally, several authors have created interviews that examine attachment from the parental as opposed to the filial perspective (e.g., Bretherton, Biringen, Ridgeway, Maslin, & Sherman, 1989; George & Solomon, 1989). In addition, Waters and Q-sort that can be used to assess a mother’s internal working models of her child’s attachment to her.

Attachment Across the Life Span

A related topic, attachment relationships between adults, began in the early 1970s, with studies of adult bereavement (Bowlby & Parkes, 1970; Parkes, 1972) and marital separation (Weiss, 1973, 1977). More recently, interest in adult attachments has broadened to encompass marital relationships (Weiss, 1982, 1991) and has taken a further upsurge with work by Shaver and Hazan (1988), who translated Ainsworth’s infant attachment patterns into adult patterns, pointing out that adults who describe themselves as secure, avoidant, or ambivalent with respect to romantic relationships report differing patterns of parent-child relationships in their families of origin. Finally, Cicirelli (1989, 1991) has applied attachment theory to the study of middle-aged siblings and their elderly parents. Much future work will be needed to delineate more fully the distinct qualities of child-adult, child-child, and adult-adult attachment relationships (see Ainsworth, 1989), as well as their interplay within the family system, a task begun by Byng-Hall (1985) and Marvin and Stewart (1990),

Attachment and Developmental Psychopathology

Attachment theory and research are also making a notable impact on the emerging field of developmental psychopathology (Sroufe, 1988), with longitudinal attachment-based studies of families with depression (Radke-Yarrow, Cummings, Kuczinsky, & Chapman, 1985), of families with maltreatment (e.g., Cicchetti & Barnett, 1991; Crittenden, 1983; Schneider-Rosen, Braunwald, Carlson, & Cicchetti, 1985), and of clinical interventions in families with low social support(Lieberman & Pawl, 1988; Spieker & Booth, 1988) and with behavior-problem children (Greenberg & Speltz, 1988). Much of this work is represented in a volume on clinical implications of attachment (Belsky & Nezworski, 1988). These topics hark back to Bowlby’s seminal ideas from the 1930s, but they have been greatly enriched by Mary Ainsworth’s notions on the origins of individual differences of attachment patterns.

The Ecology of Attachment

Although we have made progress in examining mother-child attachment, much work needs to he done with respect to studying attachment in the microsystem of family relationships (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Despite studies by Belsky, Gilstrap, and Rovine (1984), Lamb (1978), and Parke and Tinsley (1987) that show fathers to be competent, if sometimes less than fully participant attachment figures, we still have much to learn regarding father attachment. Another important topic, sibling attachment, has been tackled by a few researchers (e.g., Stewart & Marvin, 1984; Teti & Ablard, 1989), but triadic studies of attachment relationships (modeled on Dunn, 1988) are sorely lacking. Especially crucial are attachment-theoretic studies of loyalty conflicts, alliances by a dyad vis-a-vis a third family member, and enmeshment of a child in the spousal dyad, as exemplified in a report by Fish, Belsky, and Youngblade (1991) in which insecure attachment in infancy was associated with inappropriate involvement in spousal decisionmaking at 4 years of age. Finally, the interrelations of child temperament and developing attachment relationships with other family members remain conceptually unclear despite intensive research efforts (Belsky & Rovine, 1987; Sroufe, 1985).

The documentation of family and social network factors as they affect attachment relations (e.g., Belsky & Isabella, 1988; Belsky, Rovine, & Taylor, 1984) has been more successful. In the Pennsylvania project, attachment quality at the end of the first year was predictable from relative changes in levels of marital satisfaction after the child’s birth, as well as from parental satisfaction with social support, hut not its frequency.

An ecological perspective also calls for an examination of issues related to dual-worker families, especially in view of the continued sex/gender differentiation of parenting. Some feminist theorists have interpreted attachment theory as supporting the traditional view of women as primary caregivers (Chodorow, 1978; Johnson, 1988). This is not strictly justified, becauseattachment theory does not specify that caregiving must be done by mothers or be restricted to females (Marris, 1982), Most central to healthy development, according to attachment theory, is infants’ need for a committed caregiving relationship with one or a few adult figures. Although the majority of attachment studies have focused on mothers because mothers tend to fill this role most often, we do have evidence that infants can he attached to a hierarchy of figures, including fathers, grandparents, and siblings (Schaffer & Emerson, 1964), as well as to day-care providers (Howes, Rodning, Galuzzo, & Myers, 1988). However, our knowledge about the range of societal options for successfully sharing the task of bringing up children is still woefully inadequate. The recent spate of studies documenting an increased risk of insecure attachment if day care begins in the first year and is extensive in duration (Belsky & Rovine, 1988; Belsky & Braungart, 1991) is worrisome and needs resolution. Cross-cultural studies of attachment and nonparental care in countries such as Sweden and Israel may ultimately provide more reliable answers.

Cross-Cultural Studies

Moving from family and other social networks to the larger societal matrix, we find that studies of Strange Situation classifications in other cultures have sparked a lively debate on their universal versus culture-specific meaning. in a north German study, avoidant classifications were overrepresented (Grossmann, Grossmann, Spangler, Suess, & Unzner, 1985), whereas ambivalent classifications were more frequent than expected in Israeli kibbutzim (Sagi et al., 1985) and in Japan (Miyake, Chen, & Campos, 1985).

Initially, these findings were interpreted in purely cultural terms. Thus, Grossmann et al. (1985) proposed that the high incidence of avoidant infants in Germany should be attributed not to parental rejection, hut rather to a greater parental push toward infants’ independence. Similarly, the high frequency of ambivalent classifications observed in Israeli kibbutzim and Japan was attributed to underexposure to strangers (Miyake et al., 1985; Sagi et al., 1985). Though persuasive on the surface, these explanations were not based on systematic assessments of parental beliefs and culturally guided practices.

More recently, van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg (1988) examined the frequency distributions of Strange Situation classifications from over a thousand U.S. and cross-national studies,pointing out that valid conclusions about cross-national differences should not be drawn from single samples. In addition, intercorrelational patterns of home and Strange Situation behavior in north Germany (Grossmann et al., 1985) closely resembled those in the Ainsworth’s Baltimore study, at least in part undermining a purely cultural interpretation. Likewise, Sagi, Aviezer, Mayseless, Donnell, and Joels (1991) attribute the abundance of ambivalent classifications to specific nighttime caregiving arrangements in the kibbutzim they studied, rather than fewer experiences with strangers. Taken in combination, these findings suggest that Strange Situation classifications, and hence the concept of parental sensitivity, may have more cross-cultural validity in industrialized nations than was initially believed, hut the issue is by no means resolved.

Systematic work on the more fascinating topic of how different cultures-especially nonWestern cultures-fit attachment behaviors and relationships into their overall social organization has barely begun. There are, however, some tantalizing hints in the ethnographic literature (see Bretherton, 1985, for a review). For example, the Micronesian society of Tikopia (Firth, 1936) deliberately fosters attachment between an infant and its maternal uncle by prescribing face-toface talk with the infant on a regular basis. This maternal uncle is destined to play an important quasi-parental role in the life of the child. Along somewhat different lines, Balinese mothers control their infants’ exploratory behavior by using fake fear expressions to bring the infants back into close proximity to them (Bateson & Mead, 1942). In both cultures, a biological system is molded to a particular society’s purposes (by fostering specific relationships or controlling exploration).

A recent study of parent-infant attachment among the Efe begins to provide systematic information in this area. The Efe, a semi-nomadic people, live in the African rain forest, subsisting on foraging, horticulture, and hunting (Tronick, Winn, & Morelli, 1985). Young Efe infants receive more care (including nursing) from other adult women than from their own mother, except at night. Despite this multiple mothering system, by 6 months, infants begin to insist on a more focalized relationship with their own mothers, although other female caregivers continue to play a significant role. Tronick et al. attributed Efe practices to their living arrangements, with closely spaced dwellings that offer little privacy and that make cooperation and sharing highly valued behaviors. In sum, attachment behavior is heavily overlain with cultural prescriptions, evenin a society that much more closely resembles the conditions of human evolution than our own. To better explore such cultural variations in attachment organization attachment researchers need to develop ecologically valid, theory-driven measures, tailored to specific cultures and based on a deeper knowledge of parents’ and children’s culture-specific folk theories about family relationships and attachment.

Attachment and Public Policy

Cultural differences in the regulation of attachment behaviors raise important questions about the value diverse societies place on attachment relations. In a thought-provoking chapter, Marris (1991) points to the fundamental tension between the desire to create a secure and predictable social order and the desire to maximize one’s own opportunities at the expense of others. A good society, according to Marris, would he one which, as far as is humanly possible, minimizes disruptive events, protects each child’s experience of attachment from harm, and supports family coping. Yet, in order to control uncertainty, individuals and families are tempted to achieve certainty at the expense of others (i.e., by imposing a greater burden of uncertainty on them or by providing fewer material and social resources). When powerful groups in society promote their own control over life circumstances by subordinating and marginalizing others, they make it less possible for these groups to offer and experience security in their own families. Valuing of attachment relations thus has public policy and moral implications for society, not just psychological implications for attachment dyads. This brings me hack to one of Bowlby’s early statements:

“If a community values its children it must cherish their parents” (Bowlby, 1951, p. 84).www.psychspace.com心理学空间网

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